WHERE: Santa Fe, New Mexico
WHEN: Sept. 8-11, 2019

For the 3rd time in 400 years, Santa Fe played host to the joint APA-NM/Western Planner Conference, held in the City Different from September 8-11, 2019. There were 41 concurrent panel sessions, including four legal and four ethics sessions. Four lunchtime plenaries and an opening plenary provided further learning opportunities. In total, it was possible to log 20 CM credits. There were nine mobile workshops in-town and into Northern New Mexico.

Special events included:

  • The requisite Wyoming vs the World Softball Game (played at Fort Marcy stadium); and won by Wyoming (of course).
  • The annual awards ceremony combined for APA New Mexico and for the Western Planner, along with a BBQ dinner.
  • An opening reception held atop the Drury Plaza Hotel at Bar Alto.
  • A Downtown Santa Fe pub crawl that was super amazing.
  • A meeting of the Indigenous Planning Interest Group.

Suffice to say that both APA New Mexico and the Western Planner supported their respective goals of offering an accessible, dynamic, entertaining annual conference. Conference attendance was approximately 240 which was comprised equally of New Mexico planners and registrants from other states.

The local host committee met monthly for eight months before the conference. This core group of about 20 people is largely responsible for the logistical and programming success of the conference. Santa Fe County, the City of Santa Fe, APS, and the NMDOT were very supportive of these efforts, allowing staff to participate.

The conference’s theme “Planning Our Places for a Changing Future” was more than appropriate as sessions addressed several issues in a changing west. Resiliency, tribal planning, growth management, and multi-modal transportation were hot topics for the panel sessions. Mobile workshops centered on historic Santa Fe landscapes, Santa Fe River bike tour, co-housing, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, and Santa Fe art collaborative Meow Wolf. Sessions of particular interest to Western Planners focused on building fire-adapted communities, long-term water sustainability, and the “You Know You’re a Western Planner When…” session.

The opening Plenary was truly dynamic as the Tesuque Warriors performed a traditional dance of Tesuque Pueblo to start the program followed by several speakers and culminated with Steven Michael Quezada’s opening keynote. In his keynote, he discussed growing up in Albuquerque’s South Valley and the importance of getting involved in the planning process.

The majority of the conference took place at the Drury Plaza Hotel, an adaptive reuse of the old St. Vincent Hospital in historic downtown, giving attendees the opportunity to walk around the state capital. Bar Alto’s rooftop patio provided the perfect setting for the opening reception as attendees were able to network in a relaxing setting overlooking a magnificent Santa Fe sunset.

APA-NM would like to thank everyone who made this conference possible, from the local host committee to our sponsors and all the speakers who have generously donated their time to present and host mobile workshops. We plan on hosting another Western Planner Conference in the future.


Search for event #9184925 on the APA CM Log website.